A new, gentler wave of raw fusion is washing over these gulf shores for vibrant seafoodies—all the way from the islands of Hawaii. The trend was inevitable, considering the demand for nutritious, wholesome meals for mindful consumers on-the-go. Budding restauranteur Tyler Fushikoshi wants to rock the boat in Sarasota and bring the Big Tuna to the (941). Enter FushiPoké. 

PHOTO BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

What’s the backstory and culinary inspo for Fushipoke?  Perlman:  Tyler:  I lived in Hawaii till I was 13 and I still have half of my family in Oahu and Maui. We would always go to the grocery store and they’d have six different types of poké and you could just pick it up, eat it while you walk around the store or eat it in the car ride home—it’s just everywhere around the islands. It’s what I grew up eating every day.

Does poké have health benefits? This is actually where the whole concept came from, when Mark Caragiulo and I were thinking about opening up a new restaurant Downtown. With downtown apartment living, you get tired of cooking and doing dishes, so you eat out a lot. But there was nothing really quick and nutritiously wholesome. I wanted something easy to put together, with the same speed of service as a fast food place, but actually clean and healthy. Most of the ingredients in poke are raw and with lots of greens, full of fiber and vitamins that actually taste good. A lot of people don’t know how to prepare or cook veggies properly so they don’t eat them enough—this is my way of sneaking in great tasting veggies and mixing them in there for people to enjoy.

FUSHIPOKE BRING RAW FUSION TO THE GULF COAST.

How did you craft your menu?   Traditionally, most of the ingredients come from stuff you find in the water. Granted, it’s evolved over time because Hawaii has such a big Asian influence. I pulled from the authentic mix of Hawaiian-Japanese influence that I grew up on and those culinary styles I was always around—things we would always have in the cabinet or healthy sides we’d have with dinner like edamame, furikake, togarashi, tempura flakes, nori, kimchi pickles, daikon radish, enoki mushrooms, spicy sprouts and masago. These were, of course, more difficult to source, but Drunken Poet has actually been a huge help with connecting us to their ties to cool Asian distributors to source our funky and exotic ingredients and toppings. 

Where do you source your fresh seafood from?  Our main purveyor is Sammy’s Seafood right next to Tampa International Airport. They get the fish flown in the morning and drive it down here every day, or every other day. We only accept the freshest, best fish—responsibly sourced. We get whole tuna and salmon imported from all over depending on the time of year—sometimes the Atlantic, but mostly the Pacific, from places like Costa Rica and California. And we hardly know anyone moving through as much tuna as we are currently.

FUSHIPOKE BRING RAW FUSION TO THE GULF COAST.

If you were to make your perfect bowl, what would it be?  I throw a little bit of everything in there . . . and then the kitchen sink.

What does ‘Aloha’ mean to you?  To me, it means youth and family.


Sauces + Imbibes

In-house, Tyler and his team make all their own sauces—from the traditional soy sauce, a spicy mayo, nitsume (eel sauce), wasabi avocado to ponzu tamari. Tyler also brews his own fresh, natural green iced tea on tap, as well as a cold-brew coffee on tap with different single origin coffees rotating through and pouring from a special keg system that nitrogenates the coffee as it comes out. Other local beverages on hand include 221 B.C. kombucha and beer from Cigar City, Calusa and JDubs.